Posts Tagged ‘Railways

27
Aug
09

Richard Trevithick

Richard Trevithick

Richard Trevithick (13 April 1771 – 22 April 1833) was a British inventor and mining engineer. His most significant success was the high pressure steam engine and he was also the builder of the first full-scale working railway steam locomotive. On 21 February 1804 the world’s first locomotive-hauled railway journey took place as Trevithick’s unnamed steam locomotive hauled a train along the tramway of the Penydarren ironworks, near Merthyr Tydfil in Wales.

Trevithick built a full-size steam road locomotive in 1801 on a site near the present day Fore Street at Camborne. He named the carriage ‘Puffing Devil’ and, on Christmas Eve that year, he demonstrated it by successfully carrying several men up Fore Street and then continuing on up Camborne Hill, from Camborne Cross, to the nearby village of Beacon with his cousin and associate, Andrew Vivian, steering. This event is widely recognised as the first demonstration of transportation powered by steam.

In 1802 Trevithick built one of his high pressure steam engines to drive a hammer at the Pen-y-Darren Ironworks in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. With the assistance of Rees Jones, an employee of the iron works and under the supervision of Samuel Homfray, the proprietor, he mounted the engine on wheels and turned it into a locomotive. In 1803 Trevithick sold the patents for his locomotives to Samuel Homfray.

Homfray was so impressed with Trevithick’s locomotive that he made a bet with another ironmaster, Richard Crawshay, for 500 guineas that Trevithick’s steam locomotive could haul 10 tons of iron along the Merthyr Tydfil Tramroad from Penydarren to Abercynon, a distance of 9.75 miles (16 km). Amid great interest from the public, on 21 February 1804 it successfully carried 10 tons of iron, 5 wagons and 70 men the full distance in 4 hours and 5 minutes, an average speed of approximately 2.4 mph (3.9 km/h).(Read more)

30
Jul
09

The story behind the width of railway tracks

The common story that explains the 56.5” wide railway tracks is as follows (read more):

The 56.5” width (gauge) for rail tracks is the same as that of tramways, made with the help of the same jigs and tools that were used for building wagons which used that wheel spacing. Throughout England the same spacing was used for older wagon ruts, which were actually brought in by the Romans whose chariots had the same width. And the width of the chariot was dictated by the width of two Roman horses. Hence, the width of rail tracks is actually the width of two standard Roman horses!

However, it seems that there is no historical evidence to prove this. Also, the width of the two horses would be more than the chariot and the wheels behind them.

In an article on www.railway.org by D. Gabe Gabriel, he says that it was an Englishman named George Stephenson who started experimenting with putting a steam engine on the carts so there would be propulsion to pull them along.  He had worked with several mines with differing gauges and simply chose to make the rails for his project 4-foot, eight inches wide.  He later decided that adding another six inches made things easier.  He was later consulted for constructing some rails along a roadway and by the time broader plans for railroads in Great Britain were proposed, there were already 1200 miles of his rails so the “Stephenson gauge” became the standard.




So what’s this blog about?

Another attempt? Well yes. Attempting to figure out another sustainable model (there are some other attempts going on parallel-ly). Well, we have a lot of questions in mind. we read up stuff, we do some research to find answers to these questions. This is an attempt to publish that little 15-20 minute research.
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